Dwight Powell Diary: NBPA Top 100, Days 1 & 2
One of the top bigs of Class of 2010 writes from the NBPA Top 100.
Dwight Powell, a rising senior at the IMG Basketball Academy, is one of the top recruits in the country. He plays AAU with Grassroots Canada. Schools in the ACC, PAC-10 and SEC have expressed interest such as Vanderbilt, California, UCLA, Stanford, Virginia and even Harvard. The 6-9, 220-pound forward is spending a few days this summer participating in basketball camps, including the NBPA Top 100, Amar’e Stoudemire Skills Academy and LeBron James Skills Academy. Powell, also a 4.0 student, will give SLAM a first-hand account of the camps throughout the summer.—Franklyn Calle
Day one at the NBPA Top 100 Camp
First and foremost, when I found out that I was invited to the Top 100 camp, I felt extremely honored. To be able to compete, train and learn with a higher level of players than I’m used to let me know that some of my hard work had paid off. We are not only promised the upper echelon of competition, but also instruction from those who have been exactly where we’re at in the form of active and retired NBA players.
When I landed in Richmond, Va., this morning, I was a little anxious to get started. Unfortunately my camp experience began with me opening up my gear bag to see size 14 shoes (I wear a 17). When I asked for an exchange, I was told it would be done after the day’s activities were over. I traveled to the University of Virginia with no basketball shoes other than the purple and turquoise Jordan VIII’s that I kick around in. So in my eagerness to play, I tied them up as tight as I could and jumped in the drills. Thankfully, I didn’t get injured or worse — scuff my shoes any more than they already are.
We went through a good warm up then jumped right into some station work. A lot of drills were similar to what we do every day at IMG, so not too many surprises there.
One thing that did surprise me was the great amount of time we spent off the court learning about manners and other things. They put a huge emphasis on character. No camp that I’ve ever attended included small group meetings in which we talk about our problems and experiences. Overall, it was a good first day. Thankfully, I spent the last two years living in IMG dorms, so these UVA dorms don’t scare me!
Day two at the NBPA Top 100 Camp
Day two started out with the piercing sound of my alarm clock going off and telling me that it’s 6:40 a.m. Although an earlier start than what was on the schedule, my roommate and I, along with 52 other campers, decided to attend an optional 7 a.m. skills workout better known as the “breakfast club”. This work out was not mandatory, so I was actually surprised to see over half the camp wide awake and ready to work while the other half was still fast asleep.
After we worked out, our teammates joined us for breakfast followed by two presentations. The first was a career education program which taught us the value of getting both your high school diploma and a college degree. They emphasized it so much that they asked us to sign a contract stating that we will finish our education after high school! These forms were co-signed by our coaches and left with Deborah Murman, the NBA’s director of career development. Ms Murman said that those forms will be kept on file permanently. So, if any of us make it to the NBA, she will present these signed documents to us during our rookie year and either congratulate us or begin to formulate a plan for success.
The second program was health education. This was one of the most informative, as well as shocking, seminars I have ever been a part of. The core message of the program was the importance of safe and appropriate sexual practices. We were presented with some alarming figures about STD’s – that stuff is no joke!
Once we got out of the classroom, it was time for some basketball. We got right into the games. Because of the skill level of this camp there was a lot more high-flying athleticism, as well as rampant scoring. Unfortunately, along with these skills, a lot of team concepts are lost, especially on the defensive end.
Although the games were very competitive and rarely looked sloppy, a lot of the focus was placed on one-on-one offense and three-point shooting. Along with high-level players, we had high-level coaches. Each team was equipped with a successful and established high school head coach, as well as an NBA player. This helped to deflate some egos, but not all.
After lunch, we received a special presentation from all of the current and former NBA players involved in the Top 100 Camp this year. They shared with us their experiences and path to the NBA, and the floor was open for questions from us. Just being able to soak in as much of this information as possible was a blessing, because I know they have lived and are living the dream I want. The fact that all of them had a different path to the league, whether not being drafted, playing in the CBA or going from high school shows that we all have a chance if we work hard. Even if you aren’t an All-American, it doesn’t mean hard work can’t get you into the NBA.
Once we ate dinner, we had another set of games, then got a snack and a new bag of gear and headed back to the dorms. By this time it was 10:45 p.m. NBPA Camp definitely knows how to fill the days. I actually felt like I had just lived three days in the span of one by the time I took off my shoes (which fit great by the way… see Day 1’s entry). But it was a solid, productive day. Now the challenge is can I do it all again tomorrow? We’ll see!